What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Jan. 27

·5 min read

THE LATEST:

  • B.C. recorded 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths on Wednesday.

  • There are currently 4,299active cases in B.C., including 303 people in hospital, 74 in the ICU.

  • 124,365 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 4,160 of which were second doses.

  • Premier John Horgan promised COVID-19 rule-breakers he will "come down on you like a ton of bricks."

  • But B.C. won't follow Manitoba's lead in implementing mandatory quarantine for out-of-province visitors.

  • B.C. has detected six cases of the variant from the U.K. and three cases from South Africa.

  • The province will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines next week.

  • Second doses of the vaccine will now be administered 42 days after the first, instead of 35, in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible.

On Wednesday, health officials announced 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a written statement saying there are now 4,299 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 303 people are in hospital, including 74 in intensive care.

To date, B.C. has confirmed 65,719 cases of COVID-19, including 1,172 people who have died.

Wednesday's update also included a new outbreak at Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz and another at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.

Premier John Horgan held his weekly COVID-19 briefing earlier Wednesday, promising those who are flouting public health orders and advice that officials will "come down on you like a ton of bricks."

He also spoke at length about two Vancouverites accused of chartering a plane to a remote Yukon community and posing as motel employees to get early access to the Moderna vaccine. The premier said that behaviour is "un-Canadian" and said British Columbians all feel "contempt" for them.

But Horgan did not announce any new enforcement measures on Wednesday, and said B.C. will not follow Manitoba's lead and bring in mandatory 14-day quarantines for people visiting from out of province.

Vaccine status

So far, 124,365 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given out in B.C., including 4,160 second doses.

Henry has said that over the weekend the province received further updates on future shipments of vaccinations — and that B.C. will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the next two weeks.

As a result of the shortage, second doses of the vaccine will be delayed until 42 days after the first, rather than 35, in order to provide protection to a greater number of people.

The last update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed six cases of the variant first reported in the U.K. and three cases of the variant first seen in South Africa.

Henry said all cases of the variant from the U.K. are travel-related, but none of the variants first detected in South Africa have been linked to travel.

The province has ramped up screening for the faster-spreading coronavirus variants of concern.

Interior clusters grow

Meanwhile, more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna. Interior Health says 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified.

Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care.

An additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total number of cases there to 225.

New travel measures coming

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that new pandemic measures for travel are coming and Canadians should cancel any travel plans.

Trudeau said that even though existing travel control measures have been effective in keeping the number of infections low, more effort will be needed going forward.

"Obviously, extremely low is still not zero and one case is too many if we're importing, particularly considering the variants out there," Trudeau said.

Trudeau also sought to reassure Canadians that vaccine shots will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens protectionist measures to limit the export of doses abroad.

He said he received assurances this morning from Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, that that company will meet its promised delivery timelines — 230,400 doses are slated to arrive next week.

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 10 p.m. PT on Monday, Canada had reported 757,448 cases of COVID-19, and 19,238 total deaths.

Canada's COVID-19 situational awareness dashboard was not updated on Tuesday.

A total of 62,447 cases are considered active.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Tiredness.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Loss of taste or smell.

  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.

  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.